Technical Communication Poll: Most Valuable Continuing Education Courses

TechWhirl - 01/15/2013 - 3 Comments

technical communication CEIf there’s one thing we can say about most of the technical communicators we’ve met and worked with, they love learning new stuff (perhaps there’s another: they love arguing about the old stuff). The great thing is, there’s always new stuff to learn.  The technical communication field is expanding in impacts, moving towards a strategic role, and growing in influence within organizations large and small. It bodes well for our community.

Your learning options for technical communication professional development are numerous, ranging from post-graduate and undergraduate degree programs, to online certificate programs, to self-study, to continuing education (CE) courses. Many of the CE programs out there offer relatively standard and quite useful options that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow among the HR or management types. But we got to thinking that it might be time to consider some highly specific, advanced  classes in the most cutting-edge subjects that fascinate and excite technical communication professionals.

Like most of our polls, this is hardly an exhaustive list. These are the continuing education courses we’d sign up for if they were available through a reputable school or CE program. Of course learning more about publishing content for mobile is important (and we’ve seen some great workshops advertised). For everyone whose first passion is for technical writing, immersion in some of the more advanced areas, like DITA and topic-based writing would be ideal. Those who are looking to expand into disciplines that complement and enhance technical communication would love a deep dive into information architecture and content strategy.  And those that embrace the role of user advocate want more on techniques  and tools for designing and managing the user experience. Any of which would be well-complemented with some advanced training on the traditional tools of our profession.

However, if none of these appeal to you particularly, we want to hear about the continuing education courses that would help you advance your career and satisfy that love of learning.  Post a comment here, and if you have a few minutes, hop on over to the email discussion list and start a new thread.  Who knows, we may see one or two of these ideas on a future schedule.

What continuing education classes would help most in advancing your technical communication career?

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Roger Renteria

6 years ago

Ideally, I’d like to see training in DITA and topic-based writing. I was able to learn some DITA while in college, but that class was over five years ago and most of that knowledge has escaped me. I know that a few refresher courses wouldn’t be so bad either because those would be nice to review.

The other thing that I voted on was mastering TechComm tools. Ideally, I’d like to learn FrameMaker. It seems like I need a hands-on guided course project that involves using FM so I can understand how the program works from input to output.

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Comma Hater

6 years ago

My wife often suggests that as a technical writer, I should go for an MS in computer science. Has anyone ever considered or attained this? What do you think a tech writer with an advanced CS degree can uniquely bring to their career path?

(I say MSCS because I’ve only worked in networking/computer software/engineering groups)

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Communication classes in Bangalore

6 years ago

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